Well, you guessed it – today our subject is soccer! Just in time before the soccer world championship will start here in Munich – the opening-game will be on June 9th – I took a trip to the new “ALLIANZ ARENA” in order to take pictures and to look around. It was the first time I was there and I assure you – it was amazing!!!

In order to get there, one has to get to any underground-station (“U-Bahn” as we call it) of Nr.6 – the one I chose was Marienplatz. The place to get off after a comfortable, ca. 20-minute ride is called “Fröttmanning”, some 14 km to the north from the city-center of Munich.
Once out of the station, I walked roughly 400 meters to the stadium but already after less than half I got the first really breathtaking view … there it was, looking like an oversized donut or a huge dinghy.. or maybe a spaceship, which had just touched down. Each one will most likely have his/her own associations but, on second thought, I think the dinghy-comparison comes closest … from the air it looks just like that!

The “ALLIANZ-ARENA”, the pride and joy of its owners, the German soccer-champions “Bayern München,” and co-owners “1860 München” with a capacity of 69,901 spectators may not be the largest but most certainly one of the most modern and advanced stadiums in the world! During Bayern-games its rhomboid surface shines all red according to the colors of Bayern … and during games of 1860 München, all blue! It is a most spectacular site especially as colors can be lit up in separate sections as well!

The opening-ceremony took place on May 30, 2005 after having spent some 286 million Euros and since that day it serves as home-stadium for “Bayern München”. Franz Beckenbauer – most of you probably did hear his name already – was one of Bayern’s star-players during the 60’s and 70’s, and is now the chairman of the organization committee for the World Cup.

You may wonder where the name “ALLIANZ ARENA” comes from … I admit it is a fairly unusual name for a soccer stadium but, you guessed right – money did play a big role when the “ALLIANZ-GROUP”, a large financial service provider, bought the rights to name the arena for 30 years! However, it will be known as the “FIFA World Cup Stadium Munich” during the 2006 World Cup since FIFA does not allow any sponsorship of stadium-names. Even during UEFA Championship League Cup “Bayern München” is always required to cover up the name and during that time the stadium is officially called “MUNICH ARENA”!

Thirty-two teams from around the globe will make up the field for the 2006 World Cup Finals, countless spectators from all over will be here and hundreds of millions of people worldwide will be watching. On a personal note I want to say I am very happy and excited and confirm, all teams are EQUALLY welcome here in Germany and of course in Munich! I hope during the games the world will be able to focus on sports ONLY and leave politics out … there is absolutely no place in sports for it!

It’s another sixteen days of waiting … may the games be fair and safe!

For explanation:”
FIFA” stands for “Federation Internationale de Football Association” – universally known under the acronym FIFA. Its headquarters are in Zürich/Switzerland. Sepp (Joseph) Blatter is the president.

UEFA” is the abbreviation for “Union of European Football Associations” and was founded on June 15, 1954 in Basel/Switzerland.


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